John Harris in The Times on H+

Sunday, 18 May, 2008

One of my favourite bioethicists, John Harris, has a piece titled “Who’s afraid of a synthetic human?” in The Times. Unfortunately, Harris just states his opinion, and provides little of the great reasons for it that he does in his books Clones, Genes and Immortality(1998) and Enhancing Evolution (2007).

However, I especially like this bit:

In the future there will be no more human beings. This is not something we should worry about.

On the face of it, it seems a bit silly, but if you think about that is true. Provided all humans voluntarily went extinct, what problem would there be with the loss of the human species? If death is only a problem when you don’t want to die, then extinction is only a problem when you don’t want to go extinct.

Of course, if you’re not a libertarian, if you hate utilitarian ethics, and you despise the notion of autonomy or personhood in valuing life, then you will, like Wesley J. Smith, think Harris is crazy.

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